“It’s just another game” Italy defiant ahead of facing New Zealand at the World Cup
Italy take on New Zealand with genuine belief that they can secure a first-ever victory over the All Blacks and reach the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.
Kieran Crowley’s side have a maximum ten points from their first two Pool A fixtures, following a thrashing of Namibia with a win over Uruguay, but will know the quality will ratchet up against the three-time winners.
New Zealand’s men suffered a first ever World Cup pool stage defeat on the opening night of the tournament against France, though bounced back in style against Namibia.
They are boosted for this clash in Lyon by the return from injury of flanker Shannon Frizell and centre Jordie Barrett, though regular captain Sam Cane is only among the replacements after his own fitness issues.
Meanwhile Sam Whitelock will become the most-capped All Black of all-time when he comes off the bench, with the lock set to surpass the great Richie McCaw.
Follow all the latest from the Pool A match below. Get all the Rugby World Cup odds here, plus the latest tips and free bets on the World Cup here.
New Zealand 42-3 Italy, 39 minutes
Cr-runch! Nepo Laulala and Brodie Retallick combine to crumple Dino Lamb as he carries in midfield. Ardie Savea soon snares breakdown ball and Will Jordan’s chip ahead has three All Blacks after it, but Retallick is deemed illegal as he contests at the ruck and Italy are reprieved.
Harry Latham-Coyle29 September 2023 20:42
New Zealand 42-3 Italy, 38 minutes
A peep of the whistle at scrum-time from Matthew Carley gives Italy a free kick, which is punted long to Mark Telea. Telea tosses to Beauden Barrett, who produces a good touchfinder from the safe embrace of his own 22.
Harry Latham-Coyle29 September 2023 20:41
New Zealand 42-3 Italy, 37 minutes
Italy coach Kieran Crowley shares an almost perverse chuckle with the rest of his coaching box. What can you say? Italy arrived tonight with genuine optimism but they’ve ceded eight metres per carry and the All Blacks have cut them completely to pieces.
Crowley’s clarity in his team talk against Uruguay was said afterwards to have been key to instigating a turnaround – you fear there might just be slightly too much to do tonight.
Harry Latham-Coyle29 September 2023 20:39
TRY! NEW ZEALAND 42-3 Italy (Aaron Smith try, 34 minutes)
A hat-trick for Aaron Smith!
This has just been glorious from the All Blacks. It’s a beautifully conceived score, Jordie Barrett roaming out the back and assessing when best to insert himself, popping up on Richie Mo’unga’s shoulder as the fly half attacks the line. Barrett sashays into space and draws the last defender to give Smith a run-in under the posts to complete a triplet of tries – 122 All Black caps and counting and that’s his first hat-trick.
Harry Latham-Coyle29 September 2023 20:35
New Zealand 35-3 Italy, 33 minutes
Good defence from Italy, Juan Ignacio Brex chopping Rieko Ioane’s ankles before the outside blitz cuts down the All Blacks’ centre’s options two phases later.
Italy clear beyond halfway.
Harry Latham-Coyle29 September 2023 20:34
New Zealand 35-3 Italy, 31 minutes
But even their own scrum feed can’t grant Italy a reprieve. Marco Riccioni is free kicked for stepping off the mark on the engagement. New Zealand fancy another midfield shove as their backs spread left and right.
Harry Latham-Coyle29 September 2023 20:33
New Zealand 35-3 Italy, 30 minutes
For the first time in what feels like an age, an All Blacks error! It comes after 30 metres are made with yet more ominous intent, Shannon Frizell back amongst things and prominent after a month and a bit out. But a little fumble on the floor saves Italy just outside their own 22 – though the damage is already, decisively done.
Harry Latham-Coyle29 September 2023 20:31
TRY! NEW ZEALAND 35-3 Italy (Aaron Smith try, 27 minutes)
Maul might, scrum half snipe – another All Blacks try!
Eek. It’s getting ugly for Italy. The New Zealand maul creeps forth inexorably, with Matthew Carley not obliged to command them to use it with that forward movement still clear. Aaron Smith simply bides his time and picks his moment, with Codie Taylor a willing accomplice at the back of the maul. Smith’s over for his second as New Zealand convert their fifth 22 entry into their fifth try. Another Jordie Barrett conversion extends the lead further.
Harry Latham-Coyle29 September 2023 20:27
New Zealand 28-3 Italy, 26 minutes
The fourth penalty against Italy comes at scrum time, with replacement Ivan Nemer under pressure from Nepo Laulala. The All Blacks go marching on down into enemy territory again.
Harry Latham-Coyle29 September 2023 20:27
New Zealand 28-3 Italy, 24 minutes
You feel a bit for Giacomo Nicotera, left exposed on an island against a carrier of Savea’s unique blend of speed, stepping and size, but the Italy hooker should have done a lot better with his tackle attempt there, going low but failing to keep his legs moving.
That’s not flash from Nicotera, either – his lineout throw drifts off line.
Here’s the All Blacks score that got it all started:
Harry Latham-Coyle29 September 2023 20:26